I volunteered tonight at an annual event in Winston Salem called “Christmas for the City” and had a moment of clarity. It was the sort of clarity that you can only get when you do something outside of yourself.
There is a not-so-old mantra in Christianity that says “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.” The sentiment is true enough (though I’d quibble about the usage of the word “religion” as a bad word). Certainly, we could all agree that the goal of any Christian is to have some sense of intimacy with risen Jesus.
But too often this is just lip service. It can be something we say because it’s true, but not something we deeply believe (despite it being true).
Mark Driscoll has been a bad boy. But this is nothing new. He’s always had kind of a wild west rebel gunslinger approach to pastoring that has rubbed most of the old guard the wrong way. But lately things have seemed to escalate.
At the prodding of my wife Heather last night, I sequestered myself with my son in his room to play with Legos. My son Owen was showing all the signs of an empty “love tank” (as Heather calls it) and play time is what fills Owen’s tank.
Learning to trust God is a bit like learning to sky dive against your will and without a parachute. You got on this crazy ride because the guy selling tickets told you that the sense of freedom you would experience once you got up there in the sky was life-altering. What he didn’t tell you was that by “life-altering” he meant, “potentially life-ending”.
I’m a pastor of a small church in a small town. I don’t want to sound like a whiner, but I’m tired of hearing prominent pastors and leaders encouraging a mentality that urban ministry is more important than rural and telling young, potential leaders to go to the big cities because that’s where their talent and gifting will be best utilized.
Gimme a break.
Michael Frost talks about how to model Jesus’ way of reaching people. He asked questions and listened. We have a long history of not doing much listening and instead force-feeding things down the throats of our communities and then wondering why they don’t swallow it down.
With all the talk of decline in the American Church these days, it’s time for us to do something about it. I know many solutions have been offered for this crisis, but I think I have something to say that will turn the tide. After all, if we don’t do something fast the next president may be another Democrat.
It’s not exactly a sermon in the traditional sense of the word, but it will do.
Happy Resurrection Day!